The concept of Arkestra

Arkestra was conceived as an answer to the problem: what is the best way for an organisation to publish information on the web?

The shortcomings of web content management systems

Content management systems rarely work very well, especially when organisations use them, and the bigger the organisation and the site, the worse the problems.

Web content management systems waste users’ time, and their work, and produce sites full of inconsistent content, inconsistently presented.

They don’t offer users enough freedom to do what they need, and they offer too much, so they can do things they shouldn’t - both at the same time.

Arkestra is an attempt to avoid these pitfalls, by taking a different approach.

Arkestra’s approach

Arkestra models the real world, building meaningful real-world relationships into its structures.

It’s a semantic publishing system rather than a content management system; it handles meaningful information, rather than mere content or data, and makes as much use as possible of this information as possible.

Arkestra has been designed around a single key imperative: don’t waste people’s time.

Wherever possible, Arkestra should:

  • make it easy to capture and manage useful information
  • make the information easily re-usable
  • re-use it automatically and appropriately whenever possible

Arkestra’s model of the world

Arkestra begins by modelling the basic concept of an organisation. An organisation - an Entity in Arkestra’s terminology - might:

  • contain other sub-entities within it
  • occupy a number of buildings across different sites
  • have people who have various different roles in it, and engage in different activities
  • hold events of various kinds
  • need to publish news about its activities

... amongst numerous other things.

Arkestra models all of these, and their relationships to each other.

If an entity is a based in a certain building, and that building has a postal address, Arkestra can work out the correct postal address for the entity. If a person works in that entity, Arkestra can infer the person’s address.

If a particular set of web pages is associated with a particular entity, then Arkestra will be able to associate other relevant things with those pages - people, events, news and so on - automatically.

These things can will also be associated with each other in various important ways in the real world: an event might feature particular people, and take place at a particular date and time, in a particular location; Arkestra models and makes use of these relationships too.

The next section will examine entities more closely.